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Progesterone Before Perimenopause

Toddlers, maybe a new baby or two, a career, date night, girls night, that cycle class you love, sorting out the bills, the laundry, planning your next vacay… You’ve ditched the worries (and nightclubs) of your twenties, finally found a pair of jeans that work for your body, and now you’re juggling your career, your kids, and finding time to live your best life.

So basically, you’re just somewhere between energetic and perma-exhausted…

Welcome to your thirties.

Many women in their thirties are so busy getting things done, they don’t take a minute to take a breath, or worry too much about niggling issues (like poor sleep, fatigue, mild brain fog, weight changes, or skin issues)... they just put it down to stress and hope that they can take a vacation soon…

But, a hormone panel might be just what you need - even if it isn’t what the doctor has ordered! This is because our hormones begin to change around age 35, whether we realize it or not.

How Do My Hormones Change in My 30’s?

The biggest change is with progesterone. Estrogen is the hormone that gets all the limelight, all the attention, it’s the “sexy hormone”. But estrogen without progesterone is a hormone having an endless wild party, busy growing cells. Progesterone is the hormone that controls cell growth, preventing estrogen from growing cells too much. But, it is progesterone that starts to decline faster than estrogen.

You see most progesterone is released from the sack that surrounds the egg as it travels from the ovary towards the uterus. The more stressed we get, the more our hormone systems can start to respond by skipping releasing an egg each month. And if a woman doesn’t ovulate, then she doesn’t get that surge of progesterone needed to balance estrogen.

What Does Progesterone Do?

Progesterone has over 400 uses in our bodies, something we go into depth on in this progesterone blog. Needless to say, it is a crucial hormone in women’s bodies, but much less talked about than estrogen.

Some of progesterones’ key functions include:

  • Helps with supporting and regulating your mood
  • Maintaining a regular menstrual cycle length
  • Helps keep periods regular
  • Normalizes period bleeding (not too heavy or too light)
  • Helps mitigate feelings of stress and anxiety
  • Calming the nervous system and enhancing your capacity to manage stressors
  • Supporting quality sleep
  • Promoting fertility, implantation and supporting early pregnancy - this is because it helps to grow and maintain the lining of the uterus.
  • Progesterone also appears to have some neuroprotective brain benefits, especially after concussions.

Why Do So Many Women in their 30’s Have Low Progesterone?

There are several things that can be contributing factors, from birth control to lifestyle. Age, stress, and ovulation issues are all factors as well.


Age is the first factor. As noted, as your age increases, the chances that your progesterone has decreased is more likely, thus, as each year of your thirties passes, your progesterone declines slowly, and tends to take a sharper drop in your 40’s. You can read more about that in this blog on hormone changes in perimenopause.

Stress is another factor that impacts progesterone amount. When your body is stressed, it works to produce higher levels of the hormone cortisol which manages stress in your body. Because progesterone is the precursor to cortisol, when cortisol levels increase, progesterone levels decrease.

Birth Control:
Combined birth control, such that contains estrogen and progestin, prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation and thickening cervical mucus. When taking these pills, the body will naturally decrease the amount of estrogen and progesterone it produces. If ovulation is inhibited, progesterone levels will be low and flat.

Xenoestrogens are chemicals that can act like estrogen in the body and increase estrogen levels. They can be natural, like mycoestrogens produced by fungi, or synthetic, like bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates found in plastics, pesticides, and household products. Synthetic xenoestrogens are classified as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that can interfere with the endocrine system and cause health problems.

What Does Low Progesterone Look Like?

Low progesterone can result in:

  • Skipped or irregular periods
  • Spotting well before your period starts
  • Irregular ovulation
  • Moodiness or increased fatigue prior to or during your period
  • Increased PMS symptoms
  • Sleep issues
  • Increased Acne issues
  • Difficulties conceiving/pregnancy loss
  • Shorter luteal phases.

Low progesterone will also link in with low cortisol in the afternoon and evening to result in symptoms of mood swings, stress, anxiety, nervousness, afternoon fatigue, challenges falling asleep and yes, allergies (the immune system can get overworked with stress and have a hard time keeping up with simple things like fighting off allergies).

What Can I Do About It?

The best first step is always a hormone panel. These can give you clear information about what is happening with your hormones before it becomes a more challenging problem.

1. It's time to back fill with progesterone that your body isn't making. Use Vibrant Third for days 15 - 28 of your cycle. This should help with the sleep, the worry, anxiety symptoms (which often come from worrying if one or more of the spinning plates will fall).

2. Hire a cleaner - this is the BEST action any working mother can take. Even if it's just twice a month - it is totally worth the money, it reduces your imaginations' stories about mess and chaos, it actually reduces mess and chaos, it creates a job for another person and that always feels good.

3. Educate your whole family about the stress response and how it works in the body, have everyone decide on one thing they will do to contribute to reducing family stress.

4. Think about reducing the amount of physical drain on your body. When exercise has been a lifesaver and a piece of something that defines you, it can be hard to let go of it. You don't have to let go of all of it, just work out what could be let go because there is a fine line between too little and too much exercise, and that low cortisol drop mid-day to mid-afternoon indicates your adrenal glands are having a hard time keeping up.

5. Support your adrenals not just with lifestyle adjustments but with supplements - Vitamin C and or N-Acetyl-Cysteine to clear the stress derived free radicals from your body. Free radicals are the nasties that damage your DNA. You can learn more about supplements here.

6. Find a favorite tea/drink and make sure you sit still for 5-6 minutes every hour to relax and be present with the tea. Ha! You may say, how the hell do I do that? Ha! I say, the world will not come to an end because you take 5 minutes for yourself 8 times a day, just to breathe and get to that deep outbreath. If not tea, then lie on your back and breathe deeply for 4 minutes...this action takes your brain from sympathetic fight or flight to parasympathetic calm, it tells your brain "it's all good, no fires here".

7. Talk with your partner and have then come up with some ideas on how they can put boundaries around their stress and household contribution so that everything doesn't overflow onto you. Starting a dialogue on this topic is worth doing now rather than waiting 20 years.